Citadelle Laferrière–Haiti's Symbol of Independence
Prior to my visit, I wasn't aware just how deeply Haiti is steeped in history. It was the first nation to overthrow slavery, proclaim its independence, to become the first black republic in 1804.
The Citadelle, one of the largest fortresses in the Americas (!), was built between 1805 and 1820 as a monument to Haiti's newfound power and liberty, by no less than 20,000 workers. It is by all accounts a massively impressive structure.
Visiting the Citadelle and the equally arresting ruins of Sans Souci (http://www.afar.com/places/sans-souci-palace-milot) nearby, makes for a great day trip from Cap Haitien. The windy road up to Milot however, where the paved walk to the Citadelle begins, is under heavy construction. Make sure you drive in an off-road truck to get up there.
In Milot it is possible to rent a local horse for a ride up to the Citadelle. Sadly they're in poor condition, and not treated well by the local guides, which puts a damper on the experience. If you're in good shape, it's roughly a 30min walk up the mountain to the Citadelle.
The Citadelle will reward you with unbelievable 360 degree views, plenty of history at every turn, and 365 cannons. Start counting.
Warmest thanks to my incredible guide Anne-Rose, with Ayiti Tours (http://caribbeantours.info/en/haiti-tours), for her competence and brilliant knowledge of Haiti's past and present.